So your baby is ready for solid food and you have decided what you are going to introduce as your baby’s first foods. Now you are considering whether or not to make it from scratch or buy it in the store. Consider the following
Reasons to Make Your Own Baby Food
Homemade baby food tastes better. Having a store of it in your freezer is just as easy as having a store in your pantry. Making your own doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. It doesn’t mean that you need to make all of your baby’s food from scratch, either. As in all areas of your life, you can choose the option that fits your lifestyle best.
Although I try, I do not make all my family’s meals from scratch every night. I am sure most families do not. Some nights you may choose a simpler pre-prepared meal from a restaurant or freezer section of your grocery store. You can do the same for your baby and there is no need to feel guilty about it. So I chose the food items that were easiest to make at home and convenient to store in my freezer. However, not all were easy to prepare. If you find something is more inconvenient than others, ditch that idea and go for the alternative.
How to Cook and Prepare Baby Food
Most fruits and vegetables just need to be blanched or peeled to remove a tough skin. Slice and steam until tender. Then puree in a food processor, blender or baby food mill. I found a food processor or blender simplest and most effective. Some items are easiest to bake until soft and then puree.
Items best baked:
- butternut squash
- broccoli, especially good because it brings out the sweetness rather than the bitter
Buying items that are in season will keep your costs much lower than prepared baby foods. I was amazed at how much better the fruit tasted made from home rather than from the jar. Meat just needs to be cooked thoroughly and pureed. You can use broth or water to get the consistency that your baby likes.
Storing Homemade Baby Food
Storage was easiest for me by way of ice trays. Fill a couple of ice trays with your food item, freeze them, remove them from ice tray and transfer into freezer bag. This way, the food is in very small serving sizes and very little gets wasted. You only have to pull out one food cube at a time. Meat can be frozen as well, but I found it easier just to serve that up at meal time and maybe the next day. Cooked poultry should not be frozen. Its texture becomes mushy, to use a technical term.
Reasons to Purchase Baby Food
I found it much easier to purchase some baby food items. Cereals were much easier to just purchase, of course. I found that green beans and English peas have a consistency issue. The shell of the English pea proved difficult to puree to the smoothest consistency. And I really didn’t want to take the time and effort to strain it. Green beans simply didn’t become smooth at all. I believe that had I cooked them longer, they may have been less mealy, but then I would be sacrificing nutrients.
Bottom line, my kids liked the jarred variety over the homemade, so I bought those vegetables pre-made. It’s such a short time that they eat pureed food, don’t worry yourself about having to do it all from scratch.
Easiest Homemade Food for Babies
Make your baby’s meal directly from what your family is eating. For instance, plan to puree some of the meat that you are serving to the rest of your family. Set aside some of those potatoes you cooked for you family, just don’t add the milk or butter when smashing. It will taste a whole lot better than buying potatoes jarred. Remember not to season your baby’s food. You are just introducing that particular food. You want to be able to know what caused an allergic reaction should it happen. Bananas and avocado are the easiest of all. You don’t even need your food processor. Mash and serve; your baby will love it.
Enjoy introducing your baby to the world, food included. Watch her expressions as she encounters new flavors and textures. It’s a wonderful experience for you both. Just don’t make it a chore that you dread. Do what fits your lifestyle and serve it up. Your baby wants to try it all.